Edwin Fox: A Birth Story

March 13, 2019

Hello old friends! Goodness, it feels like forever since I’ve popped in here to say hello. While I’ve missed sharing with you, taking time off before baby and the last couple of weeks after having Edwin was the best decision I could have made for myself and my family. While I’m still not back completely, I do have some posts lined up for the next couple of weeks as I slowly ease myself back into blogging full-time. In a month or so, I should (fingers crossed) be back to regularly scheduled programming and have lots of fresh, spring content to share with you all!

Now, time to get into what you came here for…Edwin’s birth story! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE reading other women’s birth stories. I read so many while I was pregnant of both women I know and others from blogs I stumbled upon. There’s just something so empowering about reading real birth experiences, and I love how each one is so unique in their own way.

I always knew that I was going to write our babies birth story because I wanted to have a detailed account that I could look back on. Sharing Edwin’s birth story also feels just as important as so many of you have supported and invested in me during my pregnancy, and I really want to share how our little love came into this world with you.

Before I begin Edwin’s birth story, I want to preface it by saying that, while I was quite transparent about having anxiety coupled with feelings of doubt and guilt during my pregnancy, I don’t feel as though I was 100% honest with how bad those feelings truly were. I don’t think I fully recognized it myself until after I had Edwin as, after birthing him, I automatically felt more myself than I had in months. It made me realize that I may have in fact been suffering from pregnancy depression, but tried so hard to stuff those feelings down and spew positivity via my blog and Instagram for the past 9 months. However, I wanted to be the most honest I can possibly be in this post because maybe you too are pregnant and dealing with similar feelings, and I want you to know that it is OK.
The truth is, my pregnancy was one of the hardest 9 months of my life. Not only was it extremely physically hard on my body, but mentally I was in a terrible place. When we found out we were pregnant, I became more anxious and stressed out than I had been in a very long time. I was also in the midst of planning our wedding and Jamie and I were in the middle of house hunting with plans to move back to Nova Scotia. So, here I was with an unplanned pregnancy that seemed to come so easily to us (which also led me to feel guilt for not exactly wanting it) and a million other things on my mind. At the time, a pregnancy was the last thing I wanted to think about.

My entire pregnancy I would find myself having break downs over not being ready for the impending baby and the closer and closer I got to having Edwin, the more scared I became. I never found myself overjoyed or excited like I felt I was “supposed to” and even when I felt the baby kick, I thought it was cool, but I still never felt a connection to my pregnancy that I thought I was meant to. Things actually got so bad that around a week before I went into labour I had such a bad panic attack over my fear of not being able to love our baby that it resulted in me throwing up on myself and my poor husband having to clean me up…I guess he was preparing for the baby, ha! Aside from the mental struggle, I was also in so much physical pain during the last 8 weeks or so of my pregnancy that menial tasks such as  getting in and out of the car, walking, and showering left me feeling as though I was going to keel over. So, with that, I was left feeling pretty depleted all the while sharing my maternity #OOTD’s and being told that I was a glowing mother to be via Instagram while in reality I was feeling the opposite.

Everyone in my life assured me that as soon as I held my baby in my arms everything would change, but I was in such a dark place I couldn’t see how that was even remotely possible. Thankfully, no matter how many times I shared my fears and broke down in front of Jamie, he supported me. He never once made me feel bad or guilty for the feelings I was having, he just kept giving me encouragement, support and sharing his positive outlook over and over which helped me so much.

Luckily, in my case, everyone who told me my feelings would change as soon as I saw my baby were completely, 100% right, and pregnancy ended up being the hardest part of my motherhood journey thus far. As soon as I laid eyes on my sweet little Edwin, I felt the overwhelming weight I carried for so long lifted off my shoulders and nothing but love was left in my heart.

I wanted to share this first before sharing Edwin’s birth story because I feel like I’ve read so much about postpartum depression but not nearly as much about pregnancy depression*. I wanted to share my story because I never would have thought it possible to have a pregnancy that was so hard and a birth that, although difficult, ended up being the most rewarding, fulfilling experience of my life. And with that, I hope you enjoy reading Mr. Edwin Fox’s birth story.

*I was not clinically diagnosed with pregnancy depression nor am I a medical expert. This is simply my opinion and feelings. If you think you might have pregnancy depression, please talk to your doctor.
Since the beginning of my pregnancy I convinced myself that our baby was going to arrive early. I was three weeks early and my twin sisters were premature. Jamie was also 5 weeks early and so were both of his brothers. Because both of our mothers had all of their babies early, I had assumed that would be my fate too. When I hit 35 weeks, I was ready to go…but nothing happened! 36 weeks rolled around, then 37. All of a sudden, I was 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant and in complete disbelief that I this baby was still inside me. I started thinking “this baby is never going to come!”.

The night I went into labour was the night of the Oscars. I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t believe I’d made it to the end of award season without giving birth…little did I know that I’d go into labour just a few short hours later. The day and night of February 24th were completely normal with no signs of impending labour except for the Braxton Hicks that I’d been having for weeks on end. Jamie and I made grilled cheese sandwiches and chickpea salad for dinner and after dinner, I snuggled up on the couch to watch the Oscars. I was feeling particularly tired though and so I turned off the show around 10pm and headed to bed.

Around 12:30pm on February 25th, I woke up with cramping pains in my stomach. I was pretty sure that they were contractions but wasn’t 100% positive. After about a half an hour of the pains coming and going, I grabbed my phone and started timing the contractions on an app. Each contraction was 7 minutes apart and were lasting between 40-60 seconds. I had a feeling that my labour had started and so I woke Jamie up to let him know but told him that we likely didn’t have to head into the hospital just yet. I got out of bed to use the washroom and once on the toilet, I saw that my mucus plug/bloody show had started. I remembered then that my doctor had told me to come into the hospital if I saw any blood as I was Group B Strep positive and they’d need to start me on antibiotics promptly. After I saw the bloody show, I woke Jamie up again and told him that we actually should get ready to go to the hospital.
My labour started at home exactly how I’d hoped it would. Jamie was able to shower (I had the night before), I curled my hair and a put on some concealer, mascara and filled in my eyebrows (this was all COMPLETELY pointless.) I was also able to put on my “labour outfit” which consisted of a stretchy black dress from Joe Fresh, a long cozy cardigan, leak proof undies from Knix and sneakers. While I was getting “ready”, I was having contractions every 5-7 minutes but they weren’t all that bad and I was at the “I’m excited I’m finally in labour and I can totally handle this” phase and didn’t have any trouble getting myself ready and out the door. However, by the time I was in the car, my contractions were just 2 minutes apart, lasting 30-40 seconds and started to hurt more, but I could definitely still handle it. I should also mention that the night I went into labour there was a bad snowstorm, and so Jamie and I had to drive the hour into the hospital in absolutely terrible road conditions which had us both a little nervous…but we made it!

We arrived at the hospital and Jamie dropped me at the door while he found parking. I waited for him as again, I wasn’t in all that much pain. We headed into registration, signed a few forms and then were guided into our temporary room for the first phase of labour and delivery at the IWK. The nurse checked my cervix for dilation and effacement and to my surprise, I was only 1-2 cm dilated but 90% effaced. I couldn’t believe that I was only 1-2cm considering my contractions were coming on so frequently. I was told by the nurse that at this point it would be best if spent the next 2 hours walking around to see if I could get things moving a little bit faster. It was around 4am at this point and so our only option was to walk around the hospital as nothing else was open. We decided to drive to Tim Horton first to get a bite to eat (I got a plain bagel and cream cheese) and then we drove back to the hospital and walked around for the next 2 hours.

Now my contractions really started to hurt and I had to stop to lean on the wall and breathe each time a contraction came on, but I was determined to keep walking to dilate my cervix and so we walked and walked and walked up and down the same hallways and stairs for the next two hours in hopes that either my cervix would dilate more or my water would break. We knew that if nothing progressed that we’d be sent home and we both didn’t want to drive the hour back not knowing if we’d even make home before we’d have to head back to the hospital (Side note, I SO wish I’d of stayed home longer when my contractions started, but my doctor had said to come in with any sign of blood but apparently I didn’t need to.).After the two hours, we headed back into our hospital room and I was checked again. I had a feeling that nothing had progressed and I was right. Our nurse sent us on our way and let us know to come back if my water broke or if I started leaking amniotic fluid so that I could get hooked up to IV for my antibiotics. Jamie and I decided that our best option was to head to his mom’s house in Halifax until I had to go back to the hospital as there was no telling when that might be. We headed to her house and Jamie’s mom went to the grocery store to buy me bananas and then left Jamie and I to be alone while I laboured. It was now around 7am and Jamie and I were both pretty tired since we’d been up since 12:30am, so we decided to try to nap. I napped upstairs in bed in between contractions but it was pretty difficult to do so since the pain was pretty intense. Jamie stayed downstairs on the couch to nap. I woke up from my nap around 9:30, went downstairs to eat a banana and then the contractions started getting REALLY bad. Jamie came upstairs with me and put on my labour playlist which helped center me soooo much in between my contractions. Jamie laid beside me, held my hand and helped me get through each contraction which were coming in intensely every 2-3 minutes.
Around 10:30 I noticed that I was dribbling small amounts of water which I was positive was amniotic fluid. I called the hospital to ask my nurse if I should head back to the IWK. She said it would be a good idea but I decided to stay at home for the next 3 hours because I really didn’t want to be sent away from the hospital twice. The water continued to slowly dribble out this entire time and at about 1:30 we decided it was time to go back. On our way to the hospital, I decided it would be a good idea visit my mom at work at the QEII hospital that is close to the IWK. I think I was maybe crazy to visit her because once I got to her desk, I was literally leaning over it every 3 minutes having contractions while people were likely watching me thinking “this girl is at the wrong hospital”. Let’s just say it was a short visit, haha! We walked back to the car and headed to the IWK.

Once at the hospital, we had to re-register and at this point, the contractions were so bad I couldn’t talk to registration while they were happening, instead I had to lean over the desk, sway my hips back and forth and breathe through it. After our second registration, I was directed into a new room and asked to “collect” a sample of the fluid that had been leaking. This proved to be annoying and difficult but I was able to get some fluid and they confirmed that it was in fact amniotic fluid and that I was going to be admitted upstairs into delivery. YAY! The nurse came in, hooked me up to my IV for my fluids and the external fetal monitor, and I was told that it was going to be about an hour before our room was ready. The nurse let me know that I wanted to eat, now would be a good time. I had Jamie head to Wendy’s to get us a chicken burger and fries but by the time he came back with the food, all I could manage to eat were 2 fries (at least he was able to fuel up, lol!). The nurse came in the room about 5 minutes after Jamie returned and we started up to the delivery floor. During our trip, up I had to stop about 3 times to get through my contractions…these were no joke!
We got to our room at what I think was around 5pm. I was checked again for dilation (4cm), had the nurse get me a birthing ball and peanut and texted my birth photographer to give her an update. The next I don’t know how many hours were spent rolling around on my birthing ball, leaning against Jamie and taking a trip into the birthing tub for about an hour. I LOVED the tub, it was the only thing that soothed the contractions just a bit and since I didn’t want any medication aside from an epidural when I asked for it, anything that could help was wonderful. I got out of the tub (not really sure why) dried off and put my hospital gown as I had still in my black dress up until this point.

Once in my hospital gown I think I laid in bed for a bit and at this point with every contraction I was making sounds I didn’t even know I could make. I asked the nurse in between a contraction if it was normal to make these noises and she said “oh yes, you’re not even that bad, last night I had a woman who was screaming so loud I felt sorry for the entire floor”. That made me feel better, haha!
I remember my nurse going on a break and another nurse came in to take her place. She suggested I get out of the bed as I seemed more comfortable when I was standing which was true, it was just so hard to get out of bed because I was so exhausted. 
I got out of bed, leaned over the bed and swayed my hips, went back on the ball and did the whole lean against Jamie while contracting thing for a while longer. Then that same nurse offered me laughing gas since I still didn’t want any other medication. I tried the laughing gas but quickly decided I didn’t want it as it made me feel nauseous.
My cervix was checked again and I was almost at 7cm dilated and I decided then that I had been contracting between 2-4 minutes apart since 12:30am the night before and I was damn ready for the epidural. I was told the anesthesiologist was going to be about an hour and so at that point, Jamie called our birth photographer and asked her to head on over as I wanted epidural photos.
I decided to get back into the tub while I waited for the anesthesiologist which again, helped a lot. Candace, our photographer, came and helped lighten my mood with good chats between contractions. When the anesthesiologist showed up, I was soooo scared. The thought of the epidural scared me more than the contractions, but there was no going back once the anesthesiologist came in. I braced for the epidural and to my delight it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d anticipated (especially after having contractions for so many hours). Once the epidural kicked in, Jamie told me that I said that I said I was so excited to give birth now that I wasn’t in pain. I also called my mom which I don’t even remember and told her that I got the epidural it was amazing.
After the epidural, we were on a waiting game until I got to 10cm. The nurse put a peanut ball in between my legs and I tried to nap until I was fully dilated. While I did drift in and out , I was much too anxious about pushing to actually sleep. However, I was no longer in immense pain and so I was able to relax a bit. Also, about 5 minutes after the epidural was put in, I felt a big “pop” like a balloon exploding and freaked out a little! My nurse quickly confirmed that it was just the rest of my water breaking and not to worry! I calmed myself and then got excited that I did indeed get to feel my water break as I didn’t think that was going to happen, especially so many hours into my labour.I don’t know how many hours later, I was finally at 10cm. The doctors and nurses knew via my birth plan that I was all about spontaneous pushing over directed but unfortunately, our baby wasn’t in an optimal position and I was told that I could wait an hour but then would have to try directed pushing. I said okay to that and in that hour, tried multiple different positions to get the baby in the correct birthing position.
While I was on all fours, the nurse found that both mine and Edwin’s heart rate were speeding up but I was still feeling fine. Before the hour was up, our doctor came into the room and explained to us that baby still wasn’t in the correct position and that we were both becoming tachycardic. Our doctor said that I could push with directed assistance for an hour but once that hour was up, they were going to prep me for a C-Section, try forceps + episiotomy and if that didn’t work, I was going to be given an emergency C-Section. I was also told that for the baby to be delivered vaginally that the forceps, coupled with my pushing, had to go 100% perfectly for it to work.
At that point I was feeling quite overwhelmed and shaking uncontrollably. Jamie was also feeling extremely overwhelmed as he was so worried about both the myself and our baby. He also felt so bad because this was the complete opposite of what was in my birth plan.
When our hour was up, I unfortunately still didn’t feel the urge to push and so the time came for my hour of directed pushing.I tried pushing on my back and pushing in a squatted position, as we hoped that gravity would help bring baby down.I pushed and pushed and pushed my heart out for that hour while I contracted around every 20-30 seconds.
I never gave up once on my pushing and was told that if he had of been in the right position, he definitely would have been out by now because I was a great pusher. I was so proud of myself for pushing in that squatted position for so long because I had literally not worked out for months and before labour, I could barely bend over. However, no matter how hard I pushed my sweet boy would just not move.Our hour of pushing flew by and before I knew it, Jamie was told to scrub up. Again, I started shaking fiercely but even while I was being wheeled into the operating room, I pushed every time I felt a contraction. I was determined to have our baby vaginally. Once in the OR, I was moved onto the operating table and my arms were spread out crucifixion style which scared me so much. I had blankets piled on top of me because I was so shaking so badly and my tears were just flowing. 
I was never so scared in my entire life but Jamie was my rock the entire time.
Once the epidural was turned all the way up I was so frozen that I couldn’t feel my left arm. I hated that because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to hold my baby when the time came. I also felt like my breathing was off and at one point, I asked the nurse if I was dying…but it was all just pure anxiety. I don’t remember all that much from that point except, I did have a conversation about the amount of calories in a Tim Horton’s muffin and my affinity for Cinnabon’s while pregnant with our delivery team, haha! I also remember the pressure of the episiotomy being made and then being told to push which was definitely less fun than small talk about sweets.I pushed as hard as I could but I literally couldn’t feel anything so I didn’t know if I was pushing correctly but I was assured that I was. All of a sudden Jamie told me that I just needed to push once more and that he was going to here. I was in complete disbelief because I was SO sure that I was going to have to have the C-section. I gave that last push everything I had and at 5:48 on February 26th, after 28 hours of labour, there he was. My little Edwin Fox was crying and being placed on my chest for our skin-to-skin.
{I Phone photo as our photographer was not allowed in the OR}

I remember screaming “oh my god” and crying so hard when I first laid eyes on him. I had never in my life experienced emotions like that. He was just so perfect and I was instantly in love. We did the delayed cord clamping and then Jamie cut the umbilical cord which I unfortunately didn’t see because I was so wrapped up in our baby. I didn’t want a hat put on Edwin right away either so it was just him and I just snuggled underneath the blankets. THEN he pooped his Meconium all over me which I thought was so funny. The nurse quickly cleaned him/me off and gave my baby back to me.After that, he crept his way up to my nipple and latched on which was the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever experienced. I felt so beyond proud. Oh, and my frozen arm was able to hold him so that was wonderful! 
For the next little while I just snuggled into Edwin and Jamie and I were in a love filled haze. I was stitched up and then picked up and moved back onto the hospital bed as I still couldn’t move my legs. I was wheeled back into our room and the rest of my time in the delivery room is a blur as I was so wrapped up in our baby who stayed latched on to me a huge majority of the time. I don’t even remember Candace taking these after birth photos which means I was truly in the moment with my new little family.
And that my friends, is how Mr. Edwin Fox entered this world. Giving birth was truly the most incredible experience of my life and though it was painful (and still is postpartum) it was extraordinary and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. I am so beyond In love with our baby and can’t believe that he was 2 weeks old yesterday! He is growing so fast (his birth weight was 8.2 pounds and he is now 8.14!!!) and seems so smart and strong already. I am so darn proud to be his mama and his daddy is beyond in love with him.I want to thank Candace Berry for taking these incredibly special photos and for somehow making me look what I consider “good” during my labour! We were honoured to have her shoot such a special moment in our lives and could not be happier with these photos. I’ll also be sharing more photos of a few hours after Edwin was born in our hospital room after we had the chance to shower and clean up a bit next week! As well, our newborn photos in a couple of weeks!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read our birth story, it means so much! xo

Photography by Candace Berry

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